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The day a photo post overwhelmed me with support

Last night I took Jordan for a walk with the dog. I told her it was because the dog needed a walk, but really, she needed one. Jordan is hard-headed. If you’ve followed her growth from a baby, you’ll know she’s been determined and hard-headed from the very start. Ask her old occupational and physical therapists and they’ll tell you they saw a streak of independence very, very early on. I’m proud of her strength. I’ve fostered it. I’ve celebrated it.

But now that she’s eight-years-old, I’m learning this incredible strength she carries also comes with so many more lessons to learn as she grows up.

That’s because her hard-headedness sometimes leads to bad decisions that are rude, abrupt, whiny and at times obnoxious. I didn’t see it coming. I know I should have seen it coming. But I guess I thought the rebellion, self-focus and “always correct” attitude happened as a teenager.

I was wrong. It’s happening now.

And as I talk to more parents, this phase happens for quite a while, so I need to buck up and be ready to continuously teach Jordan right and wrong, even when she’s is 100 percent certain I am super wrong.

Yesterday was typical. I picked up Jordan from school and needed to take her and Cameron to the store. We needed to buy some food and pick up a prescription. For some reason, for Jordan, it was also a good time to whine and argue about everything. Everything was the end of the world. I just needed her to listen to herself. Jordan just couldn’t look inside herself to hear her loud tone and rude attitude. We talked. She cried. I canceled plans for her to attend her brother’s baseball game so she could go to bed on time. Maybe she needs more sleep.

Once the boys left for the baseball field after a normally slightly contentious dinner, Jordan was upset she was missing the game and life was so BORING. We took a walk. A little energy release can help. Even if she didn’t like the walk, we kept walking. And eventually she saw friends and even got to play a little street ball before bedtime. As we walked home, I snapped this picture:

I posted it on Instagram and Facebook and wrote, “I’m trying so hard to figure out the right balance when it comes to parenting this child.”

I didn’t expect the amount of support in reaction to this shot… Via Facebook comments, Instagram comments and other modes: gchat, email and even a phone call from a friend. I’m not alone, I have incredible support and I appreciate it so much. I just want this awesome girl to grow up to be an awesome woman. And this is a long and bumpy road. I can’t write everything is perfect, because it isn’t. And honestly, this is a phase we’re all going to come across if we are helping out kids grow up to be strong and confident. Kids don’t automatically figure out how strong and confident can still include polite and respectful. They have to learn it. And I think many of us in the special needs world who have empowered our kids with strength and confidence will come head to head with this challenge. I know I am not the perfect parent, but I’m trying so dang hard. I appreciate the circle of support I have near and far. In the meantime, I’ll continue to share the reality from time to time.


  1. Cody on May 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I’ve seen you be a wonderful mom. I’ve seen my mom be a wonderful mom. There isn’t a rule book. Each child is so different. It seems at the end of the day, you do know it’s going to be OK. But just in case you don’t know that, it is going to be OK. You’re great. Miss you.

  2. Laurie Hollman on May 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Sounds like your little Jordan has a lot of spirit that’s going to be taking her into great places in the long run. For the short run, even when she forgets the impact she has on others, on you, in the moment, be proud because she’s feisty which is going to serve her well. She probably has your strength, your voice. Be proud.

  3. Sylvia on May 30, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    It’s really a good thing that Jordan is a strong, spirited girl! That kind of attitude is going to get her where she wants to go in life! She won’t let anyone stop her! My daughter is the most stubborn person I’ve ever met! I keep telling myself that’s a good thing! I’ve been a mom for 37 years and I’m still trying to figure out the perfect balance!

  4. Cari Jean on May 30, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    WOW! I can so relate – she sounds a lot like my 10-year old. I have often said though that I would much rather have her be strong-willed and a fighter than a people pleaser who lets everyone walk all over her!

  5. Cassie C on June 1, 2014 at 1:09 am

    I was the same stubborn child. Actually, I was worse- I was an epic… well, to be polite, I’ll use the term “brat”. I had my good moments, but I also lied, cheated, and generally was a grump. And with a severely disabled little brother, wrangling me was an extra challenge for my parents.

    I’ll be honest: I got worse through my early teen years. Then college hit, I was finally growing out of that crazy mess of hormones kids are from pre-teen years on up, and something just.. clicked. It’s like all of a sudden the stubborn and grumpy vanished. I still have to check myself when I find myself whining on occasion, but that’s one pretty much everyone is guilty of on occasion. These days, things are so much smoother for everyone, myself included.

    So yeah, it might take her a while, but eventually, the bad parts of the stubborn do fade and the good parts, the parts that give us strength, remain. In the mean time, keep doing what you’re doing. You sound like a great mom.

    (Off topic to this post, but are you guys excited about the upcoming sequel to How To Train Your Dragon? With *2* of the main characters being amputees, I figure it’ll be a hit around your house. (The dragon loses part of a wing in the beginning of the first movie, the boy loses his leg at the end. Great movie all the way around.))

    • Jen Lee Reeves on June 1, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Cari and Sylvia,
      I’m so glad to know I’m not alone. 🙂

      Thank you so much for the perspective. I’m certainly focused on helping get Jordan to that end goal of being a good adult. And yes! We are really looking forward to How To Train Your Dragon 2! We’re also looking forward to Dolphin Tale 2.

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